26 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Coillte Ireland’s national forestry company, is encouraging people to take to the great outdoors this Christmas in Cork and make use of the Forest Parks and trail network in the county. Nationwide Coillte Forest Parks offer a wonderful array of facilities including children’s playgrounds, marked walking and cycling trails alongside scenic woodlands. With over 2,000kms of walking trails, 150 recreation sites, 12 forest parks and five Coillte mountain bike trails, there is something for everyone to enjoy and stay active right on their doorstep.
In Cork visitors can walk off the mince pies and the cobwebs at:
Farran Forest Park
Located 20km west of Cork city and just north of the N22 towards Macroom. Farran Forest Park has two waymarked looped forest trails in the park; with a children’s playground just a short distance from the car park, which has an adventure trail to captivate the imagination of the adventurous and energetic children.
Gougane Barra Forest Park
Gougane is located 7 km south west of Ballingeary, off the R584 in County Cork.. Gougane Barra was developed as a forest park in the early 60’s and was officially opened in 1966. It is unique in having a looped motor trail of almost 5 km with spectacular views of the deep valley and its walled sides. Walking in Gougane is an energetic undertaking but one can be assured that it is a rewarding experience. There are 6 different trails to whet the appetite of the walking enthusiast. The name Guagán Barra means ‘Rock cleft of St. Finbar’. St Finbarr built his monastery on the lake island in the 6th century. There is an Oratory on the island close to the entrance of the Forest Park which is to this day a major site of worship
Comments from Coillte staff
Daithi De Forge recreation manager with Coillte said, “Every Christmas Coillte welcome thousands of visitors to the forest parks and trail network across the country. As Ireland’s largest provider of outdoor recreation there are great opportunities for walking, hiking, mountain biking and nature watching.
Mr. De Forge continued “Whether you’re planning a family day out, or looking for somewhere pleasant to walk off the Christmas excess Coillte Forests are great places to explore by foot or by bike. Don’t forget to wrap up warm and be prepared for the cold! Bring a warm drink and a snack and let someone know where you are going.”We would always urge people to take care, don’t forget to wrap up warm and be prepared for the cold! Bring a warm drink and a snack and let someone know where you are going.”
For full information on tracks, trails, forest parks and recreational sites located near – by, as well as information on wheelchair and buggy accessibility, see www.coillteoutdoors.ie